Sudoku Struggles

Okay, so I admit, I’m sudoku-addicted. Yes, if there is a sudoku to be solved, I will take a, er, crack at it. But no, sudoku mastery is not one of my sabbatical projects.

Here’s the weird thing: I’m struggling with German sudoku.

I would have thought that since sudoku is a pretty straight-forward game of logic, that solutions would not be patterned.

But, it seems that I’m solving German sudoku much less regularly than N American puzzles.

Like many fellow sudoku-addicts, I abandon a puzzle if I get something wrong, typically with a number repeating in a square, row, or line. It’s hard to erase anything on newsprint and retracing sudoku-conclusions across several steps is also annoying. So, for me, sudoku success is completion of a puzzle and that is not generally a question of difficulty.

But with the German puzzles, it seems like I’m running into doubled-up digits at the very end of completing a puzzle much more frequently. How can that be?

Newspapers presumably outsource most puzzles. Some supplier thus sends in a new sudoku of the right difficulty level regularly. That supplier (person or company) surely isn’t sitting there producing sudoku by hand, right? There’s some kind of algorithmic app that generates sudoku. If I’m right about that, I can only guess that the German supplier(s) are using an algorithm that produces a slightly different pattern of solutions than the N American one. Clearly, German vs N American here is not meaningful and it might be my choice of particular sources for my sudoku rather than geography.

So, logicians and mathematicians out there: could that be? Are sudoku solutions patterned? Have I developed a solution strategy of my own that fits one pattern better than the other?

If the answer is yes, terrific. I assume that sudoku is a mental exercise and thus holds off dementia, Alzheimer’s etc., so that spending some time solving a different pattern of sudoku must be like driving on the different side of the road, i.e. very good for my brain.

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